Not if Chuck Greenberg has anything to say about it. Which he did a few minutes ago, when he told writers at the Rangers-Yankees game that Texas is prepared to bid competitively for Cliff Lee this winter. His words: “we’re not going into it with a peashooter.”
The Rangers just signed a big TV deal. If they take care of Yankee business today, Friday or Saturday, the World Series juju will no doubt lead to a nice uptick in season ticket sales. And of course, you can never underestimate the ego and competitiveness of a pro sports owner in Texas. In a town where Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban make headlines for putting an extra cream in their coffee, you can bet that part of Chuck Greenberg really wants to make a splash.
And if you’re Cliff Lee — Arkansas native Cliff Lee — wouldn’t you rather face the anemic AL West offenses all season as a team’s bona fide ace than to head to the AL East where the competition is tougher and where, if you have one bad season, you’re cast as a goat a la A.J. Burnett.
But I’m just speculating in a vacuum here. Who knows what motivates ballplayers to choose the teams they choose, at least if the money is roughly equal. All I know is that it will be nice if the Yankees have some competition for Lee’s services this offseason. Especially if that competition comes from a Texas Rangers team that has, in the space of a little over a week, catapulted itself into the national limelight.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.
Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.
Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.